About 70 percent of businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors have been negatively affected by a local COVID-19 outbreak that started in May, but the impact is “manageable,” the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said in a report yesterday.
The report, prepared with the help of industrial and trade organizations, surveyed Taiwanese businesses last month and this month during a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert, with 52.2 percent of respondents saying that pandemic restrictions in the workplace or working from home affected their productivity.
Manufacturers were most concerned about logistics difficulties caused by the pandemic, with container ships stuck at foreign ports or simply unavailable, it said.
Photo courtesy of Industrial Technology Research Institute
Had the level 3 alert continued until the end of the year, 50.2 percent of the polled manufacturers said they would have faced components and raw material shortages, it said.
The components shortage “is not just due to level 3 controls, but also stems from the reshuffling of global supply chains,” it said.
Companies in the service sector were hit harder by decreased business, with 39.3 percent saying they have seen significantly reduced orders and 38.6 percent reporting modestly reduced orders, while 8.8 percent reported higher orders due to pandemic-related demand.
However, 4.3 percent said they had suspended operations due to the pandemic.
“The biggest concern of businesses is the smooth and swift administration of vaccines,” the report said.
About 80 percent of respondents said vaccination was a “pressing concern,” it said.
The pandemic should hasten efforts to facilitate the digital transformation of Taiwanese businesses to boost the resilience of Taiwanese supply chains, said Stephen Su (蘇孟宗), vice president and general director of Industry, Science and Technology International Strategy Center at ITRI.
“We had expected a 10-year timeline for the digital transformation of Taiwanese businesses, but in the wake of ‘black swan’ events like COVID-19, that needs to be brought forward,” Su said. “We need to strengthen Taiwanese supply chains so we can keep our key position in the greater global supply chain.”
“It is no longer good enough to simply chase the lowest costs. A more well-distributed supply chain and the ability of businesses to continue operating online would help Taiwanese businesses keep operating in case of unexpected events,” he said.
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